Regardless of all types of legislative obligations, consultation is usually regarded as the signature of good management system. If a particular employer is unable to conduct proper consultations, then the practice will be regarded as autocratic in nature. In the end only dissatisfaction will be received.
The staff will not be motivated enough to work resulting in poor services to customers and increase in costs, overall. Consultation has a prime advantage and this is, by the use of it the strong ideas are brought to the fore and the weaker ones are dumped.
In those workplaces, where the trade unions have got recognition, it is quite usual to find that consultation looks after many issues and also ensures that permanent institutions for consultation are formed. The JCC is the most commonly addressed forum where both the managers as well as representatives of the union hold regular meetings. The JCC is kept separate from the forums for negotiation, although the members are almost same.
You will see that in Britain, the collective bargaining of the voluntary type and the joint consultation; have been viewed to be separate as well as complementary of each other. The collective bargaining focuses on the different interests of the different employees as well as employers in some cases.
Hence in many cases, it has been seen that the collective bargaining has decided upon payment as well as the conditions existing regarding health and welfare of the employees.
The approach of partnership stated above, is actually a move away from the confrontational approach taken in developing of employee relationships. This is usually associated with increase in strength of the different forums for consultation, instead of the ones used for the purpose of bargaining.
You will find that the JCCs are quite common in the workplaces of the unions when compared to places which do not have this kind of union. This means that the JCC is used along with the machinery of bargaining. The research undertaken by Marching ton that they have often been used in some workplaces as a substitute for the collective bargaining method.
This actually discouraged the formation of unions according to the managers. The different managers in the workplaces, are under the impression that the unions will not be getting the support or required recognition, if the employers continuously the people regarding the issues that affect them. In case of non-union based forums, the different mangers will be able to put forward the case without getting any opposition from the workforce.
You will find that in many places of work, the different JCCs play a little role when seen from the viewpoint of the different employees. This becomes quite true, when the process of taking decisions lie is decentralized in nature. If the budgets are also decentralized, then the people may altogether lose their interest in collective bargaining.
The pay of the people as well as the career prospects, are actually determined by the managers in charge. This is considerably problematic in situations where changes are occurring, as everybody would be required to be engaged in consultations. Without this, the different people will have no ideas for the changes that would be considered and they will not be able to present their individual ideas too.
Hence the mangers need to organize consultation exercises time and again so that the processes involved in change of management occur quite smoothly. Some of the examples of such processes include the reorganization of businesses, bringing about changes in policies.
If viewed from the perspective of management, a great danger looms ahead as people would think that the management is not interested in hearing their views regarding the matter. Hence the approach of pseudo consultation takes place.
Here the managers do not do anything much other than telling the employees about decisions that has been taken already. There is widespread cynicism about the process because this is thought to be an attempt towards announcing their decisions in a legitimate way. These people say that proper consultation has taken place whereas in reality it has not actually.
In practices of false consultations, the different employees are assembled in big groups and the most senior and respected managers of the company are present around them. The message from the management, is then given forward, and the people have a really short time to give a response.
In such a short duration of time, the different employees do not have enough time to give appropriate responses as they will not be able to judge the new proposals. In the presence of the big managers, these people would be too afraid to speak up.
The end result is really bad and it takes a beating regarding the moral of the employees. And sometimes no more consultations are attempted between the two parties leading to problems in the future.
The exercises which are pseudo in nature are such that sometimes the mangers try to genuinely involve the workers but even that comes off as something false in front of the unions. Hence the mangers should at all times avoid appearing in a fashion as described earlier.
The employees should always be encouraged to speak up about what they have ben mind and their consultations are to be considered by the management. They should be allowed to speak by forming small groups. The things that they have suggested can be relayed back to the senior men. In this way even the genuine approach will not be treated as something false.
Window on practice
A really important issue that the employers have to keep in mind is that when the trade unions get recognized, efforts must also be made to provide assurance to the non-union based people that their grievances will also be answered. In IDs you will come across lots of examples where the people have made use of the consultative machineries.
It is really important that a union gets the required recognition, even if it represents very few people. The people from these unions are usually the most resilient in bargaining deals. Similar cases are not observed in people belonging to consultation based committees. Reservations in seats are usually made for these people.